The Talking Machine Forum — For All Antique Phonographs & Recordings

It is currently Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:47 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 48 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Are VE electric XVI Victrolas worth buying?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:30 pm 
Offline
Victor IV
Edison, Columbia, Victor, Pathé...and oddball makes
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:06 pm
Posts: 1420
Jonsheff, if you are interested in the next level, take a few minutes to search postings by our member "EarlH" on here. He's a master of refinishing and is generous with tips on technique. He had brought back many real wrecks and his results are stunning, beautiful, and authentic.

Poke around and you'll find a lot of photos of his work on here.

Good luck with whatever path you choose.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Are VE electric XVI Victrolas worth buying?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:15 pm 
Offline
Victor O
User avatar
I'm A Restorer, I don't create beauty, I reveal it.
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:16 pm
Posts: 80
Location: Manchester Connecticut
PeterF wrote:
Jonsheff, if you are interested in the next level, take a few minutes to search postings by our member "EarlH" on here. He's a master of refinishing and is generous with tips on technique. He had brought back many real wrecks and his results are stunning, beautiful, and authentic.

Poke around and you'll find a lot of photos of his work on here.

Good luck with whatever path you choose.


Thanks for the tio, i will look him up as i am always open to a better or more authentic restoration. I really didnt know collectors were so passionate about refinishing procedures. I have a really nice VV-XVII in walnut i may choose a different finishing method for.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Are VE electric XVI Victrolas worth buying?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:03 pm 
Offline
Victor IV
Edison, Columbia, Victor, Pathé...and oddball makes
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:06 pm
Posts: 1420
Ok, I'm pretty sure you already know how we'll react to that. An XVII in walnut is considerably more rare and special, and as such must absolutely be either rejuvenated (save the original finish) or if you must strip and refinish, done correctly.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Are VE electric XVI Victrolas worth buying?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:05 pm 
Offline
Victor II
User avatar
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:41 pm
Posts: 339
Location: Riverside, California
Your customer base is generally ignorant with reasonably high disposable income. These things often go hand-in-hand, luckily for you :lol:

I don't really think this community would be terribly useful to you, because it's overwhelmingly unlike your customers. You're not interested in what collectors would consider an appropriate restoration [you posted, "I dont aim for the collector market and really dont care what clear coat is preferred as i know the units i produce come out beautifull" (sic)]. Sounds like you already have your standard refurbishment process down and that's not going to change.

As far as your business, you obviously know that end better than most people here. Personally, I've spent a decade around "antique dealers" and nothing surprises me anymore. A lot of their success, in my opinion, is explained by the Dunning-Kruger effect. I've seen a number of "reputable" sellers offer badly refinished Victrolas online and get very high prices. I recently saw an Oak XVI which was sold as refurbished/restored by a major antique dealer. The doors had been stripped of their veneer, so the front was ash (or whatever the base wood was). What the buyer doesn't know won't hurt them--as long as they stay ignorant (which is pretty likely. By the time they figure out they can't play Led Zeppelin on it, they've already lost interest and have put a plant on top).

All this doesn't bother me much anymore. It's a free country. If anything this topic makes me appreciate my small collection more. I think most people here, like me, view their collection as a mini-museum or art installation, in a way. Knowing the finer things, noticing the details, comparing and contrasting--it's very satisfying.
"There are two kinds of people in this world: people who eat grapes in the grocery store and good people."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Are VE electric XVI Victrolas worth buying?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:36 pm 
Offline
Victor O
User avatar
I'm A Restorer, I don't create beauty, I reveal it.
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:16 pm
Posts: 80
Location: Manchester Connecticut
Jwb88 wrote:
Your customer base is generally ignorant with reasonably high disposable income. These things often go hand-in-hand, luckily for you :lol:

I don't really think this community would be terribly useful to you, because it's overwhelmingly unlike your customers. You're not interested in what collectors would consider an appropriate restoration [you posted, "I dont aim for the collector market and really dont care what clear coat is preferred as i know the units i produce come out beautifull" (sic)]. Sounds like you already have your standard refurbishment process down and that's not going to change.

As far as your business, you obviously know that end better than most people here. Personally, I've spent a decade around "antique dealers" and nothing surprises me anymore. A lot of their success, in my opinion, is explained by the Dunning-Kruger effect. I've seen a number of "reputable" sellers offer badly refinished Victrolas online and get very high prices. I recently saw an Oak XVI which was sold as refurbished/restored by a major antique dealer. The doors had been stripped of their veneer, so the front was ash (or whatever the base wood was). What the buyer doesn't know won't hurt them--as long as they stay ignorant (which is pretty likely. By the time they figure out they can't play Led Zeppelin on it, they've already lost interest and have put a plant on top).

All this doesn't bother me much anymore. It's a free country. If anything this topic makes me appreciate my small collection more. I think most people here, like me, view their collection as a mini-museum or art installation, in a way. Knowing the finer things, noticing the details, comparing and contrasting--it's very satisfying.


Your info is very accurate and interesting to know about the missing veneer sale. Since the people I am normally selling to arent really collectors, you may be right about loosing interest. I just hope that if the Victrola ends up in the basement or attic again, it holds up better than it did the first go around. A lot of these especially the common models are in some cases one step away from being tossed out just to get them out of the house. When the finish fails, they really are an eye sore and most people wouldn't want them with their other furniture and into the basement they go. As for my process, I am considering changing my clear coat process and am always looking for a better way. The thing I like the best about restoring Victrolas is discovering the beautiful veneer that has been hiding under a black or otherwise Shellac coat that has gone bad over the years. Here is one I am currently working on, before and after. I am sure there are plenty on this site who prefer the original finish but myself, love the veneer. The finish is actually darker and more like Mahogany than cherry but the camera lights make it look lighter.

Attachment:
side by side.jpg
side by side.jpg [ 3.17 MiB | Viewed 329 times ]


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Are VE electric XVI Victrolas worth buying?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:40 pm 
Offline
Victor II
User avatar
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:41 pm
Posts: 339
Location: Riverside, California
I understand it probably looks a lot better in person, as the lights really wash the grain out.

That being said, there is no way in hell I would have refinished that. It looked fine the way it was. A few hours cleaning with GOOP and that would have been in my living room. I can't say the same about the result. HOWEVER, like I said, I'm not your buyer.
"There are two kinds of people in this world: people who eat grapes in the grocery store and good people."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Are VE electric XVI Victrolas worth buying?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:44 pm 
Offline
Victor O
User avatar
I'm A Restorer, I don't create beauty, I reveal it.
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:16 pm
Posts: 80
Location: Manchester Connecticut
Jwb88 wrote:
I understand it probably looks a lot better in person, as the lights really wash the grain out.

That being said, there is no way in hell I would have refinished that. It looked fine the way it was. A few hours cleaning with GOOP and that would have been in my living room. I can't say the same about the result. HOWEVER, like I said, I'm not your buyer.


Well unfortunately other than collectors, there really isnt much value in the old black finish victrolas in the non-collector market. I picked up that L door for $200 and should get anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 restored. In the grand scheme of antiques, other than the external horn models and some really rare models, most victrolas in as-is condition go for cheap. I picked up a VV-XVII a month ago in NY for $160. The shellac was so dark, i didnt even realise it was walnut untill i saw it in the light. Unfortunately the general public just doesnt appreciate the old machines, perhaps they just arent old enough yet. There are some same period antique chests, curio cabinets etc that go for 20x a Victrola price. I think people (non collectors) consider Victrolas a novelty more than a high quality antique.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Are VE electric XVI Victrolas worth buying?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:56 pm 
Offline
Victor II
User avatar
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:41 pm
Posts: 339
Location: Riverside, California
All of that is very depressing to hear, but I can't say I haven't heard it before. Since it doesn't matter business-wise, I doubt you'll be interested, but I refinished this Edison using black grain filler, medium red mahogany aniline dye, and hand brushed shellac, ending with a French polish to smooth it out. I think this is the look you should try to go after, but it may be impractical to your business. It's a much classier look in my opinion, and certainly closer to the original.

I would question why you're interested in dealing in phonographs at all. If you can make more on other pieces of furniture, could you maybe do the collecting community a great favor and leave the phonographs to others? I mean no offense, I just think it's worth considering. Even though you're fine with what you're doing now, you may feel differently in the future.


Attachments:
IMG_3479.png
IMG_3479.png [ 9.55 MiB | Viewed 319 times ]
IMG_7566.png
IMG_7566.png [ 4.73 MiB | Viewed 319 times ]
IMG_7544.png
IMG_7544.png [ 6.05 MiB | Viewed 319 times ]
"There are two kinds of people in this world: people who eat grapes in the grocery store and good people."
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Are VE electric XVI Victrolas worth buying?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:24 am 
Offline
Victor IV
I've got both kinds of music--classical & rag-time.
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:39 am
Posts: 1617
Location: South Carolina
Aw come on, man--nothing wrong with being in the phonograph collecting world for a little profit. I bought, restored, and flipped a 1940s Phonola S-50 Portable the other day. It ended up as a Valentine gift for a coworker's wife, and she, being a schoolteacher, took it to class...

Fast forward to this afternoon when said Coworker shows me a video of the class gathered around the old Phonola, listening to it rattling its way through a Flatt and Scruggs record. Kids are dancing, people are smiling, they're learning this in history class which is kind of great...so a little profiteering can make a lot of people happy!


Regarding other matters of finishing:

There's a guy I know who is refinishing a 1906 VTLA in the flat-top Pooley cabinet--the first Victrola ever produced, now very scarce and worth thousands today.

It was super ugly when he got it on the outside but the inside was still nice, so he decided to fake a mahogany piano finish in his garage with period materials (sort of.)

The original finish in 1906 would have been all shellac. It was a little bit disgusting in 2018 when he bought the thing. He stripped it down, sanded the rough spots, and cleaned the wood very thoroughly but without raising the grain.

Next came a Minwax oil-based Red Mahogany stain, I forgot what number he used. It came out looking beautiful, matched to the inside of the lid. He also put some feet back on the cabinet because the old ones had been smashed.

Clearcoating it was very interesting. He didn't use a grain-filler, because he didn't have the right kind available. What he did was to put on a coat of fairly thick shellac, the amber Bull's Eye kind from a tin can. Next, he lacquered it with Deft nitrocellulose brushing lacquer. When he got done rubbing it out, it looked like a perfect finish from 100 years ago, and was far more durable than the original finish. I figure if one of the South's premier collectors could take one of the world's rarest Victrolas and finish it this way, it was good enough for anyone. The shellac and nitro materials were right for the period, and he said that sometimes they would alternate the finishes to help fill the grain and make a deep finish.

Unfortunately, the last time I saw this Victrola, it was scattered around his garage in bits and he was still repainting the parts with gold foil paint and lacquer to make the gold-wash. I never did get to hear it, but one of these days I am going to drop in and have to ask him how the Pooley Victrola turned out.

It is the finest refinish job I ever saw.

By the way, Jonsheff--you guys up north have some amazing machines! Down here in the heart of Dixie I think our phonographs fell apart in the humidity years ago.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Are VE electric XVI Victrolas worth buying?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:35 am 
Offline
Victor III
User avatar
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:31 pm
Posts: 981
Location: New Hampshire’s West Coast
Jonsheff wrote:
Jwb88 wrote:
I understand it probably looks a lot better in person, as the lights really wash the grain out.

That being said, there is no way in hell I would have refinished that. It looked fine the way it was. A few hours cleaning with GOOP and that would have been in my living room. I can't say the same about the result. HOWEVER, like I said, I'm not your buyer.


Well unfortunately other than collectors, there really isnt much value in the old black finish victrolas in the non-collector market. I picked up that L door for $200 and should get anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 restored. In the grand scheme of antiques, other than the external horn models and some really rare models, most victrolas in as-is condition go for cheap. I picked up a VV-XVII a month ago in NY for $160. The shellac was so dark, i didnt even realise it was walnut untill i saw it in the light. Unfortunately the general public just doesnt appreciate the old machines, perhaps they just arent old enough yet. There are some same period antique chests, curio cabinets etc that go for 20x a Victrola price. I think people (non collectors) consider Victrolas a novelty more than a high quality antique.


What you are doing is not unique in the world of antiques, and you seem to be at least preserving the machines and taking something that may have been turned into a liquor cabinet and keeping it's function original. Hopefully others will see these beautiful objects and want one too.

Many of us have had a gut reaction and directed our contempt at you, (including myself). You have responded respectfully and you seem open to making a change of clear coat, and I thank you for your understanding. I am glad that you reached out to the group and been willing to converse with us.

If a machine is just short of the dumpster and you bring it back to life, even if not with the authenticity that we may like, the machine lives on and is treasured by someone. I hope that you will switch to a more traditional top coat, but in the end, that is up to you. Please stay in contact with the forum.


Last edited by Django on Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:23 am, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 48 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Fonotone, Google [Bot], Mormon S and 9 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
Americanized by Maël Soucaze.